How the Other Half Lives (For a Few Weeks or So)

Because the players were off last night and mostly out on the town, I was allowed to head on over to the NCC, where they stay during training camp. Coach Zorn had requested that the players be left alone at their lodgings, and the night out was chosen with the proviso that I not disturb any players who had chosen to stay behind.

It’s a conference center, not quite a hotel and not quite a dorm, and — approaching it alone — my first thought was that it was very quiet, and my second that it was sort of unsettling. That was before I saw the rooms, at which point the word “large” left the description.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining about the rooms in the abstract. They were the size of those in a business traveler’s hotel, which is perfectly adequate for someone my size. But I simply could not picture someone built like, say, an NFL offensive lineman being comfortable.

It’s … a room. Here it is from the other angle.

And the TV was relatively new, so that was nice.

But I was positive — POSITIVE — that it must drive the players insane.

Which shows you what I know about NFL training camps.

First I asked Chris Samuels, who seemed like exactly the sort of 6-5, 314 pound guy I figured would be miserable there. Nope. “They’re small, sure, but it’s cool for what we’re going through. It’s not like we’re on vacation in a luxury hotel on some island somewhere. It’s training camp. They feed us pretty decent. The bed’s a little hard, but other than that it’s cool.”

Fred Smoot was even more emphatic. “The room’s a good size. I mean, come on, man. When I was in Minnesota, we lived in a college dorm. They’re sharing rooms. Here everyone’s got their own room. It’s training camp. You’re not going to live in a six story house for training camp, and that’s just how it is. Really, we’ve probably got the best accommodations in the NFL.”

Okay, but you’re a CB. What about the big guys? “The big guys can handle it, man. Especially if they’ve been some other places, then they really love it.”

Only Jon Jansen, 6-6, 306, would cop to any slight discomfort, and that was just with how well he fit in the beds. “Not very well at all. I guess they’re a bit small, the room’s a bit small.” Even with that, though, he managed to find a positive in it. “Still, I guess it gives you some comfort if you can reach out and touch both sides.”

Huh. How about that.

Other than that, it was unremarkable. I managed not to disturb any players, although I did bump into a few guys here and there. I also found the dinner that was laid out for the staff, team, and coaches who had remained behind. And Samuels was right — they do feed them pretty good.

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19 Responses

  1. I wonder if Danny charges the players to stay there

  2. what was the dinner spread?

  3. “Still, I guess it gives you some comfort if you can reach out and touch both sides.”

    –HAHA, loved this!

    I’m curious about the food as well. I’m picturing tons of calories, and not necessarily the good kind. Steak, fried chicken, potatoes, pasta with rich sauces, and maybe a skimpy salad bar to round it out and give the appearance of healthy. Maybe I’m just hungry…

  4. Cool stuff. Simplicity is a virtue. BTW- food shots are staple (sorry) of our blogs back in Hawaii. They actually share a lot of information about a culture and provide a nice way for people to relate to each other. Everybody gotta eat!

  5. Basic cable or the full package with all the movie channels?

  6. The food was, as SupaFan guesses, pretty caloric. In fact, SF pretty much nails it. The steak was ribeye, I think there was a chicken dish (which I didn’t eat), a tuna, potatoes, a pasta bar with three sauces and a few different protein adds (meatballs, chicken, maybe sausage or something?), and — I think — a salad bar. Also, a surprisingly big dessert spread, which I didn’t make it to. Todd Collins recommended the pasta with pesto, which was gone before I could try it.

    No photos this time, but I’ll include them in any future food-related posts.

  7. I think it was the over-the-air with an HD receiver — the one with the decimal point channels. I’d never used it before. At most it was basic cable with HBO.

  8. LizKauai,

    I so miss Hawaiian food and Kauai! I worked for about 5 1/2 years for the company who owns Hanalei Bay Resort. Got to visit/work there 6 times for probably about 2 months. Great people there, great spirit and great Ahi! I really do miss that part of my old job :).

  9. I stayed at the NCC for a week for TSA and true the rooms were smallish but the food was excellent . They had a cafeteria type section where you pointed out to the workers which hot foods you want thn there is a salad section , a pasta section , a section where you can make your own sanwiches including vegetarian stuffand even a guy cutting meat . there is also a nightclub/sportsbar whose name I do not remember but thehe is karaoke night!

  10. BTW they do have the worlds greatest pasta…(IMO)

  11. Great stuff today, Matt.

  12. best post so far…

  13. Nice post, Interesting and fun. Keep it up.

  14. Thank goodness for your “commenting policy!” The posts were great and the comments were a wonderful break from the insanity.

    Matt, do the players get to have guests there or do the wives, s.o.. families, etc. have to stay away except on their nights out? Seems like it would be some fraternity house with all the guys there!

  15. Cool post. This blog is great. Keep it up!

  16. Matt,
    If and when you get a chance, Please find out what the players do in their down time. Particularly, I like knowing who the readers are. Thanks!

  17. VERY GOOD POST- DID RANDY THOMAS GET EXTRA HELPINGS….

  18. Yeah they may be hotel like but hte food is incredable. NCC has 3 bars on site veiwing rooms the place is over 2,000,000 square feet there is stuff that nobody can see. i sell food to them and it is all top notch and the chefs and lightsout.

  19. […] these nice HD TVs, but they don’t get real HD.” (It’s something I also noticed when I was at the NCC, and it would’ve driven me insane if I’d lived there for this long.) And Jason Campbell […]

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